Review: Y Not Festival 2016 (Noel Gallagher, The Hives, Circa Waves, Editors, The Cribs, + more)

Buried in the heart of the peak district is a music festival that’s spiralled out of control in size and popularity. Y Not Festival may have some of the worst phone signal, be cut off from the rest of civilization, and have eluded Noel Gallagher before his headline booking, however it’s these secluded aspects that ensure it’s one hell of a unique private party.

After getting stuck in traffic on route to the festival, we unfortunately missed Friday openers Trash, who’s hard work is slowly beginning to pay off as they begin their ascent up the bill. A series of no-shows also started the weekend off poorly. Public Access TV left an empty stage in their wake whilst pop queen Kelis left a crowd utterly disappointed when she failed to make it to the grounds. For the two Kelis fans who’d brought along with them a giant paper mache milkshake, you couldn’t help feel for them as their efforts failed to bring the girl to the yard.

These setbacks however were quickly forgotten. Scuzzy reverb and messy stage antics saw Yak spring The Giant Squid stage into action. Oli Burslem is one explosive front man, shaking his body and stumbling around the stage like some rabid animal. Violently strumming his tattered Stratocaster, songs like ‘Harbour the Feeling’ build and dive between moments of chaos and clarity.

The Cribs are on their way to becoming live veterans, 11 years after the release of ‘The New Fellas’, the Wakefield brothers are forever putting distance from that title. Proving that they can still create havoc, the messy and loud guitar chords and vocals still managed to encourage the masses to mosh. Springing the main stage into action for the first time over the weekend, The Cribs are still a powerful live force and one that are always welcomed admirably up north.

Away from the main stage, another crowd was brewing in wait of Eagulls. This year’s follow up to their self titled debut, ‘Ullages’, takes a softer approach to their earlier punk-inspired sound. Still maintaining their swagger, ‘Lemontrees’ and ‘Skipping’ kept the crowd circulating whilst the likes of ‘Nerve Ending’ truly welcomed the disorder.

After some long overdue relaxing in the sun, Eliza and the Bear welcomed us to the main stage with uplifting melodies and vocals perfect for a Saturday summer afternoon. Rat Boy was soon on hand to shake things up and get people on their feet. Encouraging chaos at every opportunity, the Essex stirrer’s on stage antics equally replicate the crowds enthusiasm. Racing through ‘Sign On’ and ‘Move’, the mesh of electronic splurges and rapid fire lyrics had the crowd head bobbing at the very least.

Sticking close to the main stage, Saturday evening’s acts packed a mighty punch. Perfect t-shirt weather greeted Circa Waves for a change as they still ride the wave of debut album ‘Young Chasers’. Upbeat and infectious, simple versus and catchy choruses make for ideal afternoon listening. Next up was Catfish and the Bottlemen. From the offset, the crowd was chaos, smoke bombs and inflatable crocodiles surfed over the heads of the fans who’d scrambled to the front as the familiar sound of ‘Kathleen’ belts over the arena. Their live performance beckons the headline slot and it could be argued that Y Not missed an opportunity by not booking them in for it.

That being said, this no way meant Noel Gallagher was anything short of spectacular. In fact, not only were the High Flying Birds churning out the hits but the crowd that had gathered was without doubt the largest and loudest over the weekend. There’s no escape that Oasis tracks received the most enthused reaction, but as you hear the chords of ‘Dont’t Look Back in Anger’ spread across the fields, there’s no shortage of reasons to explain why.

On Sunday it was a certain Swede that stole the limelight. The howlin’ Pelle Almqvist taught Y Not a lesson in crowd control. Energetic would be an understatement, flinging his mic in the air, jumping onto amps and getting amongst the crowd, The Hives squeezed every ounce of energy  from the crowd as the weekend drew to a close. The band’s catalogue of material is forever growing, but nothing can replace the hits that have cemented The Hives’ career. ‘Tick Tick Boom’ and ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’ lift the atmosphere and whilst lesser knows songs fail to spark the same liveliness, Pelle is on hand to shake things up.

Madness closed the festival in fine style. Ska legends from Camden Town, hits a plenty were in order and whilst a shaky cover of AC/DC was confusing to say the least, the reliable bunch quickly turned things around. ‘Baggy Trousers’ and ‘Our House’ saw a new kind of mosh pit open full of clumsy dancing and dad moves. A fun end to the weekend, everyone left the Madness with a smile on their face after a thorough blast of the 80’s.


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Review and Photos by Jacob Flannery |

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